Top Families of County Donegal, Ireland.
From Michael O’Laughlin at www.Irishroots.com
Todays Topics include :
1) Books on Donegal genealogy and history
2) Top 19th century family names in Donegal
3) Top Donegal families on the Map of the Four Masters
4) Historical notes from The Irish Roots Cafe
It came from Donegal
Perhaps the most famous book connected to Donegal
is ‘The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters...’. As the
Gaelic culture was coming apart and the plantations
were coming to Ulster, Brother Michael O’Clery was
sent on a mission from his monastery in Donegal.
In Search of Writings
His task was simple, collect all existing written history
of Ireland and compile into one comprehensive book.
Below are some of my books that today have record of
the families in Donegal. There is more info, including
placenames and history in the links below each book
Books of the Month:
1) Families of County Donegal, Ireland
2) County Donegal, Ireland, genealogy....
3) Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters
19th Century Families
Now lets look at the birth family names I posted in
‘County Donegal, Ireland, genealogy and family
“ The 19th century finds the following families most
numerous in the county :”
Gallagher (196) Gallaher
Doherty (160) Dougherty
Boyle (102) Boile
O'Donnell (102) Donnell
McLaughlin (81) Laughlin
Sweeney (50) Sweaney
Ward (40) MacWard
Kelly (37) Kelley
McGinley (37) McKinley
McFadden (33) Fadden
McGowan (33) Mac Gowan
Duffy (29) Duffie
Campbell (28) Cambell
The number of births recorded is given in parenthesis
after the name. There was more than one way of
spelling any of these names. They are grouped under
the most common spelling found. Note how the usage
of the 'O' and 'Mac' before Irish names had changed
from the 17th century records.
An example of a different spelling is given after the
number of births.
The 'noble' families since the plantation of Donegal,
according to O'Hart, include Fitzwilliam, who became
the earls of Tirconnell; and Richart Talbot, the Lord
Lt. of Ireland, who was created Duke of Tirconnell
during the reign of James the Second.
The families of Brownlow and Carpenter have been
subsequent earls of Tirconnell; Chichester, earls of
Donegal; Conyngham, earls of Mountcharles;
Cockayne (Cockayne, Cokain), barons of Cullen;
and Hewitt, barons of Lifford.
Other examples of the nobility of this regime appear
in works like the Irish Book of Arms, IGF edition.
There are of course, hundreds of families not noted
above, that will be found in the Donegal books
above. There are also many ways of spelling each
Most of the old Irish names can have the Mac or 'O'
before the name dropped and added at will.
Additionally many old Irish names were translated
or 'mistranslated' into English from the original
gaelic. Hence many English sounding names
may actually be found in old Irish families! “
Below we find a resource which gives families
from earlier periods, including the Norman
invasions of the 12th century.
The Four Masters
Donegal has a special connection to the Annals
of Ireland by the Four Masters, as it was compiled
there. In these Annals first translated by Connellan,
there appears the first major map of the location of
Irish Families. My link below explains more:
Donegal Names on the Map
L = Lord; P= Prince, E = Earl, B = Baron, C = Chief, v=Viscount
Mac Duvan, C.
Mac Sweeny, L.
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